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Miller steadies to snare seventh in attritional Indonesian outing

Monday, 16 October 2023

Jack Miller found a solution to a mid-race scare at Mandalika on Sunday, finding a way around the fading grip of his soft front tyre to hold off Enea Bastianini to score nine world championship points.

Jack Miller was able to stand firm and recover from his race going sideways in Sunday’s Indonesian Grand Prix, the Australian finishing in seventh place after regrouping from one poor lap that looked set to undo his good work earlier in the race.

In oppressive conditions where the pre-race track temperature hit 57 degrees, the KTM rider started from 10th on the grid and steadily moved forward, overtaking Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro on lap 15 for fourth place and setting his sights on Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo in third as he chased a second Grand Prix podium of the year.


But several front-end scares on lap 18 – where he was 1.1 seconds slower than his previous lap – saw him switch into survival mode for the remaining nine laps of the race, and Miller was able to re-pass Ducati’s Enea Bastianini with four laps remaining and hang on to score nine world championship points, which came after a sixth-place result in the wet in Japan in the previous race.

“It took everything I had those last three laps to keep (Bastianini) behind me, but nonetheless it was a solid race,” Miller said.

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“Not too far off the leaders, but we’ve got a little bit of work to do.

“I felt really good for eight laps in a row, I really had some decent pace, but the soft front tyre started to have some moments, all on one lap on the left-hand side. I was little bit taken aback and didn’t really understand what I needed to do.

“The way I was riding, trying to let (the bike) roll … I couldn’t do that any more and had to keep some load on the front. Once (KTM teammate) Brad (Binder) came past I found my bearings again and saw what he was doing – he had a different (medium) front tyre but I felt he was braking quite late, so I was able to rebound and find a little bit of speed towards the end.

“It’s nice to have two decent weekends in a row, both with Japan and here.”

On Saturday, Miller earned a world championship point in the 13-lap Sprint by finishing ninth, repelling Aprilia’s Miguel Oliveira to stay inside the points. It wasn’t a result without incident, though; Miller bizarrely crashed on the entry to pit lane on the in-lap as he hit the pit lane speed limiter and braked, laughing that “only my ego got bruised” as he admitted to a slow-speed get-off that wasn’t initially captured by the TV cameras, cold brakes catching him out.

Miller finished 12.474secs behind race-winner Pecco Bagnaia (Ducati) in Sunday’s long-form race, and felt the second weekend of using KTM’s new carbon fibre chassis had shown the way forward for the remaining five events this year, with his home Grand Prix in Australia coming up next weekend.

“We’ve made some big steps forward with the new chassis and so on and with set-up in general, and the way we come into the weekends,” he said.

“I think the KTM can work really, really well around the Island. The bike is nice and agile at high speed which you need around the Island, and there’s always some decent grip there as well. Fingers crossed we can put on a pretty good show for the home fans.”

Jack's Indonesian Grand Prix by the numbers

  • Qualified: 10th
  • Sprint (13 laps): 9th
  • Grand Prix (27 laps): 7th
  • Fastest lap: 1min 31.463secs (11th), lap 10
  • Points this event: 10
  • Points this season: 135 (9th in world championship)